Q&A with Ian Brown

Ian Brown, 56, unmarried, is the new coach for the OTC Masters Tuesday night workouts. He was born and raised in Seattle. He attended Central Washington University, earning a degree in education. His 5000 PR is 15:20.. For love and money, he has worked as a teacher, track and cross country coach, and running a small business. Now residing in Springfield, in addition to his coaching us to greatness, Ian runs a window and gutter cleaning business.

1. Why do we need a coach, especially us older boys and girls?

I see how we all benefit from in our Tuesday night group. My coaching is about structure, accountability, motivation, knowledge and fun.

2. Where, when, and and how hard? Appropriate for all levels of ability?

Our default meeting and workout spot is the South Eugene High School Track at 5:30 PM on Tuesdays. On Monday evenings, I post the workouts on on Facebook and indicate of any we are meeting at a different place. All levels and abilities are welcome.. Join us! The more the merrier.

3. A typical Tuesday night workout? How does it differ from your high school workouts?

A typical workout for Tuesday nights would be a warmup, drills, then 12 x 400 meters at 5k pace with a 90 second jog between repeats. The first six on the Amazon chip trail to minimize pounding and the second six on the track to maximize speed. I have more than once done this exact workout with high schoolers.

4. I confess, if doing an easy day on the bike path, I walk to the trail head and just start running. What’s the problem?

I see no problem. If an easy day, relax, enjoy the scenery. If you are not running hard, no need for a warm up or drills. I would suggest running on soft surfaces on easy days as resting from the pounding of hard runs is a large part of the process of rebuilding for the next hard run. Easy days are also a good time for some extra core work and stretching.

5. Do you critique and coach your runners’ form?

High schoolers a lot. I try to keep the focus not on what they are doing wrong but on how to get more efficient, providing more speed with less effort. With the younger runners, we do a variety of form progressions and drills, lots of core and balance exercises, and watch videos of world class runners, male and female, so every one has a model of good form to emulate. With older runners,, such as our Tuesday OTC group, the drills and speed work will help with running form. More focused individual or group running activities aimed at efficiency is always available if requested or, sometimes, obviously needed..

6. Quotes you live by, or quote often?

At Ellensburg High School, I have been the distance coach for past 15 years. We have a team meeting at the beginning of practice, and at the end of that meeting we have a tradition of words of inspiration, wisdom and/or quotes. One of my favorites that I deliver at the beginning of the season is “The tree with the deepest roots withstands the strongest winds.” This is especially relevant as Ellensburg is very windy during track season.

7. What special moment or insight caused your devotion to running?

As a kid, I loved sprinting but did not enjoy distance running . At ten years old, and participating in the Cub Scout Olympics, I remember thinking when doing the 440 yard run, “I hate this distance running stuff.” Later that year at a grade school championship meet, I ran what would be the fastest time of the day in the 100 yard prelim. In the final I took off like a maniac, instantly in the lead, but then the gun fired again. The scary and stern starter pointed at me and yelled, “Do that again and you are out of here!” After this experience, I developed an aversion to sprints and began to see the beauty of distance running.

8. XC teams lose by the closest of margins, often because one or more on the team didn’t finish with their best effort, drifting through the final 50, or 20, or even last few yards. How do you coach them to give it their all, on their backs and toes up just beyond the finish line?

I tell runners that sprint muscle fibers are different from distance running fibers. At the end of a race when you feel about to drop, the sprint is usually still there if you stay relaxed and go for it. At the finish of a hard workout, during the last couple repeats, we learn when to kick and how fast the finishing kick can be.

9. What did you have for breakfast? Usual breakfast time?

I usually eat breakfast at around 7:30 after a quick cross training workout at the gym. Breakfast this time of year usually consists of some home made blueberry pancakes and grazing in my garden for whatever is ripe and fetching, such as raspberries, nuts, carrots, and beans.

10. Three things that make you grumpy?

Little dogs that bark nonstop (one lives next door), the wind (Ellensburg), and getting caught in traffic.

11. What possible advice could a 73 year old runner (Don) give to younger runners?

I would guess you have a lot of good advice to give on how to make running an enjoyable and positive lifetime activity.

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